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SpaceX plans to send two civilians around the moon next year

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:15:00 +0000

The private spaceflight company has already received a deposit from two would-be space tourists who hope to fly in late 2018 - if the spacecraft is ready

Game theory says publicly shaming cyberattackers could backfire

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:33:00 +0000

A model explains why publicly identifying the perpetrators of a cyberattack without hitting back could make them seem even more of a threat

UTIs could soon be life-threatening without new antibiotics

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:12:00 +0000

For the first time, the World Health Organization has named which bacteria we most urgently need new antibiotics to fight, and common gut microbes top the list

De-extinction dilemma: reviving dead species may doom the living

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:01:00 +0000

Diverting precious conservation resources into de-extinction projects could simply mean more threatened species are wiped out, warns Olive Heffernan

Snow will melt more slowly in a warmer world – here’s why

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Snowmelt will start earlier but happen more slowly, depriving river systems and reservoirs of the big gush of water they rely on

A loaf of bread emits half a kilo of CO2, mainly from fertiliser

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Fertiliser use accounts for 40 per cent of greenhouse gases emitted to make bread, and bread production accounts for half a per cent of all UK emissions

Caterpillars vibrate anuses to send food and shelter alerts

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:38:00 +0000

Tiny birch caterpillars send messages by making a complex range of sounds – buzzing their bodies and drumming and scraping their mouths and anuses against leaf surfaces

Why we are so bad at spotting if our kids are overweight

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:30:00 +0000

At least 80 per cent of parents of overweight children think their kids are a healthy weight, and the reasons for this blind spot are complex

As Brexit looms, a soundbite strategy for UK science won’t do

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:09:00 +0000

The government is still failing to offer detail on how it will counter the many risks to UK science posed by quitting the EU, says campaigner Mike Galsworthy

Try these simple mental tests to see if you’re a good athlete

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:51:00 +0000

Your brain’s mental flexibility and capacity to focus could give you the skills to help make you a world class athlete

Does a networked world need a new approach to doing good?

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:00:00 +0000

The "effective altruism" movement aims to make the most of our generous urges – but it may not have all the answers

Having a cigarette may make your body crave coffee too

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:32:00 +0000

People who smoke may metabolise caffeine differently to non-smokers, leaving them needing to drink more to get the same hit from their coffee

AI learns to write its own code by stealing from other programs

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:01:00 +0000

Software called DeepCoder has solved simple programming challenges by piecing together bits of borrowed code

The greatest danger asteroids pose to us is not from the impact

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:57:00 +0000

If an asteroid hits a major city, only 3 per cent of the casualties will be from the crater it forms – most will be from overheated air and high winds

Morphing drone takes off like a helicopter, flies like a plane

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:54:00 +0000

A drone for surveying farmers’ fields takes off vertically and then shape-shifts into a plane, making it easier to launch and allowing it to fly for longer

Was Kim Jong-nam killed by VX nerve gas? Doesn’t look like it

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:23:00 +0000

Malaysia says Kim Jong-nam - half-brother of North Korea's Kim Jong-un - was killed with VX nerve gas that was found on his face and hands. But chemical weapons experts are not convinced

Augmented reality lets cars communicate to reduce road rage

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:52:00 +0000

Virtual signs that pop up on your windscreen and say “rushing to the hospital” or “in a hurry to the airport” help turn other drivers’ aggression to empathy

There’s no such thing as ‘clean coal’ – it’s dirty and expensive

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:44:00 +0000

Australia and the US want to revive an uneconomical and polluting technology, and, worse, Australia plans to take money from a clean energy fund to do it

Bill Gates’ robot tax alone won’t save jobs: here’s what will

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:17:00 +0000

To fend off the worst excesses of automation, we need to start thinking more clearly about the jobs that will be left

AI beats professional players at Super Smash Bros. video game

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:55:00 +0000

An AI trained using deep learning came out on top against 10 high-ranking players of Nintendo’s multiplayer fighting game Super Smash Bros. Melee

Bees learn to play golf and show off how clever they really are

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Bumblebees have shown they can learn how to push a ball into a hole to get a reward, staking their claim to be considered tool users

Extinct Neanderthals still control expression of human genes

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Early humans may have outcompeted Neanderthals, but their influence lives on in DNA some of us inherited after the two interbred

Plain packets help smokers quit by killing brand identities

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:29:00 +0000

Smokers no longer derive a sense of identity from cigarette brands after plain packaging rule was introduced in Australia, helping them to kick the habit

Voyager 1 might have seen Enceladus’ icy plumes 25 years early

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:59:00 +0000

A space image-processing enthusiast claims that he’s found signs of Saturn’s moon’s majestic plumes from 1980 – decades before they were discovered

Dozy drivers pose big dilemma for next step in autonomous cars

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:51:00 +0000

Should we build cars that let drivers relax most of the time? Soporific test drives are highlighting risks in the road map, says Jamais Cascio

Hiring tool uses behavioural science to stop recruitment bias

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:33:00 +0000

The platform, which replaces CVs with a whole new way of recruiting, aims to remove bias – but won’t always lead to more diversity

How to be good: Can science show us how to save the world?

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Effective Altruism promises a scientific revolution for how we do good. Are there hidden dangers?

Exoplanet discovery: Seven Earth-size exoplanets may have water

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:15:00 +0000

The small, cool star TRAPPIST-1 is one of the best places to look for life in the Milky Way: its seven rocky planets might all have water and atmospheres

The EU’s renewable energy policy is making global warming worse

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:01:00 +0000

Independent report concludes the massive subsidies for wood energy are increasing greenhouse emissions, and are a waste of public money

You should be eating 10 pieces of fruit or veg every day, not 5

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:01:00 +0000

A review of 95 studies suggests we should be eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day to reduce our chances of dying from a heart attack or cancer

Desert people evolve to drink water poisoned with deadly arsenic

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

People living in the Atacama desert of Chile evolved specific gene mutations over the past 7000 years that make them better at detoxifying the heavy metal

Female fish mate 200 times but save eggs for the perfect male

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:00:00 +0000

Lampreys engage in prolonged sex sessions where the females pretend to mate with 10 or more males – all the while waiting for "the one"

Skulls reveals that ancient Americans didn’t mix with neighbours

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Skull shape tells us that some early inhabitants of the Americas kept to themselves, and that South America saw at least two distinct waves of colonisation

HIV vaccine therapy lets five people control virus without drugs

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0000

The therapy gives the immune system the tools to flush out HIV, meaning daily drugs can be ditched – one man has been free of them for seven months

Pluto is still an ex-planet, no matter what its fans think

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:48:00 +0000

A fresh attempt to revive full planet status for Pluto is a non-starter. Astronomer Michael Brown explains why hopes of a comeback are futile

Successful Russian launch re-paves the way to space station

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:37:00 +0000

Russia's Soyuz rocket - currently the only way to get to the International Space Station - has had its first successful trip since a failed launch in December, restoring astronauts' ability to get to space

‘Meditating mice’ reveal secrets of mindfulness training

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:14:00 +0000

Mice are less on edge if their brainwaves are coaxed to resemble those patterns that meditation boosts in humans

Worst-ever coral bleaching event continues into fourth year

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:25:00 +0000

NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch is predicting that many reefs will bleach in the next three months as sea temperatures remain high despite the recent El Niño coming to an end

New species of bushbaby found in disappearing forests of Angola

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

The Angolan dwarf galago is the fifth new primate species found in mainland Africa since 2000, but its habitat is under threat

Buttercups focus light to heat their flowers and attract insects

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:00 +0000

A special layer of cells inside the petals makes them act together like a parabolic reflector, focusing visible and infrared light on the flower centre

US scientists voice fears over how science will fare under Trump

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:01:00 +0000

Concerns over the impact of President Trump’s policies on science have been raised at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston

Smart meter tracks when the kettle’s on to check grandpa’s OK

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:00:00 +0000

A monitoring system, tested in hundreds of UK homes, builds profiles of energy use and sends alerts if someone’s routine changes in a worrying way

Putting cancer patients in hibernation could help tackle tumours

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Tumour growth would slow right down or cease while healthy cells in the body become more resistant to radiation

Exercise reduces death from breast cancer relapse by 40 per cent

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:13:00 +0000

A quarter of women with breast cancer will die from cancer spreading around the body – exercise is the most important lifestyle factor in preventing this

Bird flu strain hitting China may be getting more dangerous

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:07:00 +0000

Already this winter H7N9 has caused 424 known cases in humans, and it seems to be acquiring a deadly mutation that will make it spread more quickly

You are what you eat: Old food shortens lifespan in animals

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Mice, flies and yeast fed on food from old organisms had a shorter lifespan than animals fed on young organisms, perhaps because of faster accumulation of cellular damage

Mind-reading typing tool for paralysed people is fastest yet

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:14:00 +0000

Three people with paralysis have learned to type by thought alone using a brain implant – at almost half the speed at which people with no motor disability can text

Kids can pick up attitude from robots they play and learn with

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:01:00 +0000

Children using a companion robot to help solve puzzles or listen to them tell stories tried harder when it was programmed to have a can-do attitude

Mystery eye disease is latest blow for Australia’s sick turtles

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:32:00 +0000

Green turtles on the Great Barrier Reef have developed a strange eye disease, which could be a result of a recent herpes outbreak or high levels of cobalt

Teacher body cams are not the answer to bad classroom behaviour

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:59:00 +0000

There is precious little evidence that equipping school staff with body-mounted video kit will help tackle disruptive students, says teacher Tom Bennett

The upstart asteroid who showed rings are for everybody

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:40:00 +0000

Rings were thought to belong only to an exclusive celestial club including flashy giants like Saturn – but then Chariklo crashed the party

Family tree of stars helps reconstruct Milky Way’s formation

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:56:00 +0000

Using an array of chemical elements detected in stars as proxies for their “DNA”, stellar histories can be tracked around the galaxy, mapping a family tree

New advice is use fewer passwords – why the change of tack?

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:23:00 +0000

Unique, strong passwords, changed frequently, has been the mantra for all the websites we log into. Why is that advice under attack, wonders Paul Marks

Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:15:00 +0000

Underwater recordings of vocal fish off the Australian coast reveal an ocean choir composed of at least seven distinct choruses

Alarm as climate sceptic named head of US environment agency

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:57:00 +0000

Scientists within the EPA say work continues as usual for now, but they worry about potential changes when Scott Pruitt – a climate change sceptic – takes charge

We need slow science to sow the seeds of future prosperity

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:00:00 +0000

It's tempting to invest in rapid development at the cost of slow and steady research – but good things come to those who wait

Two new drug therapies might cure every form of tuberculosis

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

In small trials across Africa, the therapies cured people with even the most drug-resistant forms of TB, and more quickly than current treatments

Vitamin D supplements may prevent millions of winter infections

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:00:00 +0000

Taking vitamin D could lead to 3 million fewer respiratory infections – like colds and flu – in the UK every year, but some say the evidence isn’t clear

New NASA teams will make human Mars missions light and efficient

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:07:00 +0000

NASA just funded two new institutes to develop technology for future space missions: one to make lighter materials, one to help build with the resources on Mars itself

Mars might already be building rings from its moons

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:01:00 +0000

Simulations show that Mars will rip its moon Phobos into a ring in a few million years – but proto-rings may already exist

Antarctic sea ice is very low – but don’t jump to conclusions

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:34:00 +0000

Drawing premature conclusions about global warming’s role in Antarctic sea ice loss is unjustified whether positive or negative. The evidence must speak for itself

Hens that can lay eggs from other species could save rare birds

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Like a seed bank for poultry, a 'frozen aviary' will store primordial stem cells for rare breeds of birds so they can be saved

Microsoft app helps people with ALS speak using just their eyes

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:17:00 +0000

A smartphone app called GazeSpeak uses eye movements to predict the words you want to say, allowing people with motor disabilities to communicate faster

Trump may be very flawed but that doesn’t make him mentally ill

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:04:00 +0000

Calls from psychiatrists for Donald Trump to be declared unfit to be US president on mental health grounds are misguided, says Dr Allen Frances

Big builder ants and tiny guard ants live together in one nest

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 10:15:00 +0000

Two completely different ant species live together in a single society in which a fierce dwarf species seems to protect its giant nest mates from invaders

Screening soldiers doesn’t protect them from mental illness

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 23:30:00 +0000

Checking British soldiers for symptoms of PTSD, depression and alcohol problems doesn't prevent them from developing psychological illness after war

Honeybees let out a ‘whoop’ when they bump into each other

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

A vibrational pulse that was thought to be a “stop” signal between bees may actually be a startled response when they collide

Seagrass meadows help remove dangerous bacteria from ocean water

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Seawater samples reveal that seagrass areas have much lower levels of a microbe found in sewage – adding to the known benefits of these declining ecosystems

Dwarf planet Ceres hosts home-grown organic material

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

The first evidence of organic material on Ceres opens the door to the possibility that other asteroids harbour precursors to primitive life

Timing when you get pregnant could prevent a miscarriage

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:02:00 +0000

A quarter of pregnancies end in miscarriage. A new explanation suggests there’s a window of opportunity when it’s best for some women to conceive

Can we grow woolly mammoths in the lab? George Church hopes so

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:11:00 +0000

We may only be two years away from creating hybrid mammoth embryos, but that would only be the first step on a very long road towards resurrecting the animal

Key Alzheimer’s drug shows ‘virtually no chance of working’

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:43:00 +0000

The failure of another drug that targets beta amyloid plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s has revived doubts over whether plaque causes the disease

Far-off asteroid caught cohabiting with Uranus around the sun

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:45:00 +0000

The second Trojan asteroid of Uranus ever found suggests there could be hundreds more associated with the planet

Turn satellites into sparkling fireworks to burn up space junk

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 10:32:00 +0000

Satellite debris that falls to Earth could be deadly, but pellets made of a heat-generating mixture could help them burn up safely in the atmosphere

Tiny 3D-printed camera lens could give drones vision like ours

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

The camera, measuring less than the width of a few human hairs, combines four lenses to mimic the natural vision of predators with precise detail only in the centre of an image

The Mars paradox: Why we still don’t understand water on Mars

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0000

A 40-year quest to resolve discrepancies between climate models and observations just got another false start. Are we missing something more fundamental?

Universes that spawn ‘cosmic brains’ should go on the scrapheap

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Weird consciousnesses called Boltzmann brains arise in many cosmological theories – but we now have reason to rule them out unless we live in an old universe

Churchill’s lost essay on alien worlds has a message for us all

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0000

In 1939 Winston Churchill mused about the possibility of exoplanets and life beyond Earth. His words still resonate today, says Rebecca Boyle

Dormouse might be first tree-climbing mammal shown to echolocate

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:45:00 +0000

It's not just bats that navigate at night using a form of sonar – so might a dormouse, and if so it could tell us whether bats' echolocation preceded flight

Emergency clause lets European countries beat bee pesticide ban

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:29:00 +0000

About half of the European Union’s member states are making use of an emergency clause to allow the use of banned pesticides that are thought to harm bees

Metabolic switch may bring on chronic fatigue syndrome

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

CFS, also known as ME, may be caused by the body switching from fully breaking down carbohydrates to using other energy sources, bringing on pain and exhaustion

Junk food tax and veg subsidies could add 500,000 years of life

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

If Australia taxed junk food and subsidised fruit and veg, it would prolong healthy lives and save A$3 billion in future healthcare costs in the process

Crews race to fix California dam before more rain falls

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:55:00 +0000

Heavy rains caused erosion and a partial collapse of spillways at a California dam - and more rain is forecast, threatening to overflow it again and flood towns

Human genome editing shouldn’t be used for enhancement – yet

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Gene editing can already treat human diseases, but while editing the germline and enhancing human traits might be acceptable one day, we’re not there yet, says report

How to build better sex robots: stop making them look human

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:31:00 +0000

From a stimulating exoskeleton to a vibrating fist, innovators are ditching the sex-bomb stereotype. But can we ever fully escape the uncanny valley of the dolls?

Sex and dentistry: I made a fellatio prosthetic for my mouth

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:31:00 +0000

Dentist-turned-artist Kuang-Yi Ku wants to change the way we think about medicine – and our mouths – with custom sex prosthetics. Frank Swain tried it out

Female shark learns to reproduce without males after years alone

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:54:00 +0000

Some fish and reptiles can reproduce asexually, but a shark in an Australian aquarium is a rare case of this in an animal that once had a mate

Metadating helps you find love based on your everyday data

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:48:00 +0000

Some sites use algorithms to match people looking for love – "metadating" goes a step further and lets you pore over a potential date's data

More people now believe human-made climate change is happening

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:01:00 +0000

The proportion of people in the UK who accept climate change is happening and is largely human-made has risen from 57 per cent three years ago to 64 per cent now

Mars landing sites for 2020 NASA mission down to the final three

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 18:06:00 +0000

At a meeting in California, NASA scientists whittled down the landing sites for its next rover - which will search for signs of life

NHS to start prescribing health apps that help manage conditions

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:08:00 +0000

Apps that let patients monitor their conditions and send data directly to doctors are coming to selected NHS trusts this year in a bid to reduce hospital visits

Climate change is already battering hundreds of animal species

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Almost half of all threatened land mammals and a quarter of threatened birds may be feeling the pinch as a result of habitat loss and other changes

Virtual reality weather add-ons let you feel the sun and wind

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 15:11:00 +0000

You could soon get an even more immersive VR experience thanks to the Ambiotherm plug in, which exposes you to the elements of your virtual world

Australia’s extreme heatwave is a preview of things to come

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:54:00 +0000

The current record-breaking heat, sparking bush fires and putting people in hospital, could be a foretaste of the new normal as climate change proceeds

We need transparent trials to keep confidence in medicine

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:00:00 +0000

Controversies about the safety of medicines given to millions of people can’t be settled unless data is made more freely available

Deep-sea squid points a big, bulging eye up and a tiny eye down

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:01:00 +0000

Videos reveal that the cock-eyed squid’s two contrasting eyes are adapted for entirely different hunting purposes

Robotic bee could help pollinate crops as real bees decline

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

With bee populations tumbling, an autonomous drone just 4 centimetres wide could help pollinate crops by flying from flower to flower

New talk of warming pause just another faux climate controversy

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 17:58:00 +0000

The latest attempt to resurrect climate change deniers' favourite trope of a warming pause is just more smoke and mirrors, say Michael Mann and Susan Hassol  

Secrets of Earth’s birth carried in lava jets from planet’s core

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:19:00 +0000

Time capsules from around the time of Earth’s birth 4.5 billion years ago are preserved in the hottest mantle plumes despite planet’s plate tectonic activity

400 pilot whales stranded on New Zealand’s ‘whale trap’ beach

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:11:00 +0000

The reasons for mass strandings of marine animals, like this event in New Zealand, aren’t clear, but NASA is looking into whether solar storms could be involved